Well yes, what a splendid couple of days that was, and I am pleased to say my
health improved dramatically as time went on. Tuesday night I was really
pretty grim - I'd been fine for the journey to Burnham in the afternoon but
went downhill after that - and very nearly didn't last much longer than Jess.
But I kept going for a couple more pathetically listless hours before calling
it a day and getting a reasonable night's sleep in the annexe, helped a little
perhaps by opting for the "proper" bed for a change rather than the larger
sofa-bed. Still, at least I got to watch my first bits of the Winter Olympics,
even if I have precious little recollection of it!
It wasn't my best night's sleep by a long way though, but I was reasonably
raring to go on Wednesday morning and was up in time to watch television with
Jess for a little while before breakfast, and then it was time for Claire and
me to take her to school and collect Jo for our trip south. Except that Claire
needed to go via the building society and the card shop, and Burnham shops seem
to be somewhat laid back when it comes to opening promptly, so we had a
somewhat anxious call from someone who thought we'd left without them! As
if... I guess we eventually got away at about ten, certainly once we'd made a
detour to collect the road atlas we'd forgotten!
The journey to Swanage was straightforward enough, if a little slow in places,
especially thanks to a very nasty looking accident on the M3 at one point with
an upside down van wedged under the back of a lorry in the "fast lane". We
took a much-needed refreshment stop at the brand spanking new Winchester
services - which are somewhat closer to Southampton than Fleet, aren't they,
Tris? - with our next breather being on the short ferry ride across Poole
Harbour. It was cold and windy out on the deck, though - especially for Jo -
so after grabbing a couple of minutes of fresh air we quickly returned to the
car, and it was almost time to drive off again anyway...
From the ferry, it wasn't too much further to Jenny's mum's house to drop off
Jo and partake of most welcome bacon and brown sauce butties, before having a
quick walk along the sea-front in Swanage and retracing a fair number of our
last few miles - including the ferry, of course - and then striking off into
the New Forest and swiftly to Lyndhurst. When we arrived at our guesthouse -
which we found without any problem at all, thankfully - the proprietors had
left a note to say they were out for a little while, so we took a brisk stroll
up the road and had a look at the ponies and so on before returning to
successfully check in, get shown around the place and so on.
It was all very friendly, clean and comfortable at the Whitemoor House Hotel,
and the English breakfast on Thursday morning was top notch stuff too - hitting
the spot, even, some might well agree! We could have asked for an evening meal
there too, but opted instead to walk into the town centre, and eventually found
a most pleasant curry house where we passed most of the evening before
returning to watch the curling and skeleton bob on television. As earlier in
the day, it was quite cold, but the promised atrociously bad weather failed to
materialise, and indeed it was a somewhat beautifully starlit night as we
walked out and back from the "Passage to India".
We wanted to be back in Burnham in good time on Thursday for Claire to collect
Jess from school, so rather than doing anything too adventurous, we got
permission to leave the car at the guesthouse for a couple of hours and walked
into town again to do a little window shopping - though we did buy a couple of
assorted gifts and postcards for important people, needless to say - and then
into the "forest" on the outskirts near where we were staying. The weather was
chilly but glorious, and it was lovely just to spend a leisurely hour or so
meeting the ponies, sitting in the sun and generally enjoying being there and
with each other without too many cares in the world!
The journey home to Burnham was simple and fairly quick, stopping for a
spot-hitting lunch at a Little Chef near Basingstoke, and taking a couple of
detours to show me places of interest! I think it was about three o'clock when
we finally made it back, which gave us a little while for a welcome cuppa
before Claire needed to go and collect Jess and I needed to hit the road back
here. I'm glad Claire encouraged me to leave with plenty of time to spare,
because the M25 and M1 journey was very tedious indeed, even before rush-hour,
taking at least half an hour longer than usual; I gave up timing it in the end,
and it may well have been nearer an hour longer.
So that was that, for our splendid little jaunt - though as you already know, I
didn't have much time to sit back and relax, since I wanted a bath before I
went on to Open House for which I'd previously agreed to provide some of the
food. That was quite good, and we had some useful discussions about where
things go next with the group or groups - given that it was the last week in
our temporary venue of the City Discovery Centre - but by the time I was home I
was absolutely shattered, and really not much fun to talk to as Claire will
probably vouch. I slept like a log, thankfully - but am very grateful today's
Friday, even if tonight promises to be hectic...